Today’s show touches on funding, equity, and resources in public schools and how socioeconomic status and zip codes are dictating the success of our students. Our guest is Dr. Denver Fowler, professor at the University of Mississippi, who has served as a coach, teacher, athletic director and administrator in P­12 settings for over a decade. He was named the 2015 State Assistant Principal of the Year in the state of Ohio and nominated for the National Assistant Principal of the Year. His research interests include ethics, leadership and research on the superintendency.

Equity not Equality

Some schools are falling down, and some look like Harvard. We still live in a time where a child’s zip code determines their successes and ultimately their future. Offering free internet for families starts to help students get access to the resources that are so abundant online. We have the correct people teaching, and leading, but limited resources for students and teachers is a big problem. Every district should be prepared and able to provide programs and support to help children become all that they can become in their futures.

Elected Superintendents?

How we hire or in some cases elect superintendents is different state to state. In states where superintendents are elected instead of hired, they need only complete the licensing to be an administrator and not necessarily needing any experience or education in the field of education. Another problem from state to state is reciprocity for licensure of principals. With these varying requirements for licensure, often administrators can be certified in one state and become principals no matter the training in other states.

Chief Issues Across the Country

Mississippi is not unlike many states in the US. Assessment is an good tool, but it is best when consistent. Additionally, how we use data matters a lot. Old data is cold data. In Mississippi schools, teachers only have access to data that is 3 years old. How are they expected to help their students grow and improve? These issues are not unique to Mississippi­­ these are prominent issues for schools across the US.

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